How TA tech and data power this firm’s high-volume hiring

How do you hire 22,452 new hourly employees at the height of a global pandemic and in a job sector known for high turnover? For security firm GardaWorld, it meant using data and recruitment technology, said Scott Foster, vice president of talent acquisition.

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Hiring armed and unarmed security officers and guards who protect people, assets and property is a challenge in any environment, Foster told Ty Abernethy, CEO and co-founder of high-volume hiring platform provider Grayscale, at last week’s HR Tech Virtual conference. The two spoke in a core session entitled “How GardaWorld transformed its high-volume hiring.” These are hourly workers who earn an average of $15 to $18 per hour—and can find the same salary in less dangerous industries, including food services and retail.

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Talent acquisition tech from Grayscale helped GardaWorld make its hiring process more efficient—it had to hire nearly 25,000 workers from among the 400,000 applications it received last year—and more personalized, in order to keep candidates in the pipeline.

Scott Foster, GardaWorld
Scott Foster, vice president of talent acquisition at security firm GardaWorld

“The role of the recruiter has changed and there are worries about automation,” Foster said. “We made a commitment to offering candidates dignity and respect. There is nothing like sitting across the table or [in] a virtual format and having a candidate and recruiter see each other eye to eye.”

The Grayscale solution—which enables employers to automate parts of the hiring process—gave recruiters much-needed time to provide each candidate the attention they deserved. Ultimately, they were able to perform multiple screenings and interviews with an estimated 40,000-50,000 candidates last year.

“We want to know why the person wants a new career or work for us and not just what shift they want to work,” said Foster. “It takes technology to create that time and make that connection.”

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It also helped with candidate and recruiter communication. Five years ago, email and follow-up telephone calls were the primary communication methods GardaWorld used, but Grayscale enabled it to also use SMS texting to connect with candidates. ”People want to engage via their mobile device; they respond quicker and they see our texts to them faster,” he said. 

Grayscale’s solution not only notifies candidates that they have a job offer, but it also reminds them of upcoming job interviews and wishes them good luck to cheer them on. 

In addition to making the hiring process more efficient with tech like that from Grayscale, GardaWorld also has focused on using recruitment data. For instance, it tapped into the numbers to reach out to candidates who dropped out of the recruitment process and inform them of hiring events and resume workshops as well as to shed light on wider recruitment operations: programmatic job advertisement buying and ad sponsorship, organic versus paid traffic, the performance of Google search words, and hot job markets and areas where reaching candidate volume is a struggle.

Related: 10 themes from the HR Tech Virtual conference to help you prepare for the next decade 

Foster said having that data takes the emotion out of hiring decisions. “To use a phrase, ‘data don’t lie,’ ” he said. 

Data analytics also enabled the company to examine trends across its 48 branches in the U.S. so it could better meet each location’s needs and challenges. What works in Oklahoma City and Tulsa will not work for branches in Dallas and Fort Worth, he said. 

The data also brings precision to recruiting. For example, if GardaWorld’s TA team is aware that a particular branch needs 100 people and its average application-to-hire ratio is 12 to 1, they know that they will need 1,200 applications.

“That helps me figure out cost-per-click and cost-per-application,” he said. “My recruiters know how many phone screens they need to do and then the number of applications they will need. The data can also help us know how many will make it all the way through the onboarding process.”

Investing in data analytics has been worth the effort in the quickly changing industry, according to Foster. 

“We are trying to hire people into this noble industry,” he said. “These are no longer the days of the mall cop.”

Registered attendees can view all HR Tech Virtual presentations through April 4 here

Phil Albinus
Phil Albinus is the former HR Tech Editor for HRE. He has been covering personal and business technology for 25 years and has served as editor and executive editor for a number of financial services, trading technology and employee benefits titles. He is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and lives in the Hudson Valley with his audiologist wife and three adult children.